Goldman Sachs might not have built European HQ in London if it had known about Brexit, says Lloyd Blankfein

Investment bank boss says he "thought there would have been a worse outcome by now"

Ben Chapman
Thursday 12 April 2018 12:56
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Mr Blankfein warned that longer-term decisions may drag on the UK’s growth in the future
Mr Blankfein warned that longer-term decisions may drag on the UK’s growth in the future

Goldman Sachs might not have chosen to build its new European headquarters in London if the decision had been made after Brexit, the bank's boss Lloyd Blankfein said.

The Wall Street giant is currently constructing a new £300m site in the City, which will remain its European base.

But Mr Blankfein said, had Goldman known about Brexit, “we might have made a different decision”.

“In our European headquarters, Goldman has German nationals covering German securities issued by German institutions, in London,” he said in an interview with Politico on Thursday.

The long-serving Goldman boss said he was wrong about the immediate of effects of the Brexit vote on the economy.

“Cassandra hasn’t been proved right,” he said.

“Some people would say, ‘hasn’t been proved right, yet’.”

He added: “I’m at least wrong in that I thought there would have been a worse outcome by now.”

The UK economy had “surprised on the upside”, he said, referring to better-than-expected economic data that has come since the June 2016 referendum.

“Maybe there are other things compelling that support growth, other than Brexit.”

But he warned that longer-term decisions may drag on the UK’s growth in the future.

“There are decisions made today, and people who are building buildings four years from now won’t be. So far what is evident is that we would’ve thought decision-making would’ve been altered more by now.”

He added: “Another way of saying it is that there might be a lag effect to this.”

Reports earlier this year suggested that Mr Blankfein would retire as soon as the end of 2018 after a tumultuous 12-year reign.

On life after being chief executive of Goldman Sachs Mr Blankfein, a strident critic of US President Donald Trump, said: “My last five predecessors ended up in the government. That might be a little more difficult [for me].”

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